MMO cold-turkey period ends

In the middle of last month I announced that I was taking a breather from MMOs. I had a pretty nice break, playing The Witcher, reading more than I usually do, screwing around with fun games like Battleheart on my iPad.

But I’m ready to jump back in and live an imaginary life to escape from this real one a bit. I just don’t seem to lose myself as much in single player games as I do in MMOs.

I’m such a screwball though… Rift early-launches next week, but this past weekend I kept running into positive talk about DC Universe Online, plus I watched a couple of episodes of Smallville which put me in a pro-DC kind of place. Saturday night, the day’s chores done, my head fraught with worry about my mom and finances. A cocktail or two to take the edge off and my willpower fading, fading… and BLAMMO! I purchased DC Universe Onlive via Steam. That damned Steam should be a controlled substance, I tell you!

Of course I still had to d/l it, and it was getting late and I still wanted to play something so… I’d installed Star Trek Online a while back (I’m a Lifetime Subscriber…I love me some Lifetime Subscriptions!) but hadn’t booted it up in ages. So I decided to play a bit of that and then d/l DCUO overnight.

I rolled a new Star Trek officer (a separated borg, ugly as sin) since I couldn’t remember how to play and jumped in. And wow, did I have fun!! It came back to me pretty quickly but it all seemed better than it used to be. I suspect a lot of the systems have been tweaked/polished/enhanced since launch.

So my borg (Hugh 342 – the 342nd Borg liberated since Data named the original Hugh) wants to return to being human more than anything. Via the cosmetic overhaul system in STO, he’ll be able to. But all those changes cost $$ of some kind that he still has none of. I’m looking forward to watching him dump all his earnings into getting Borg parts removed, his infected skin healed, his glowy eyes replaced with normal eyes. Part by part he’ll strive to become human once again.

I think the last time I played STO I mostly ran patrols, because I don’t remember having so much fun in these missions (they call them episodes in STO).

Last night, for instance, I did Hide & Seek (I think that was the name). If you’ve never played STO, here’s what this one episode entailed (going from memory here).
[spoilers for this very early episode]

I was sent to explore a nebula. I beam up to my ship, the USS Scintillate, and we zoom off to the nebula and find a Federation ship under attack by Gorn raiders. We make short work of these raiders, but the Federation ship is still in trouble; it needs dilithium crystals. So we fly around to dilithium mines to beam up crystals. Some of these are defended so we had to trade a few more broadsides. Bring the crystals back to the crippled ship, who now gives us the location of a refining facility where we can get the materials we need to explore deeper into the nebula. We head there, fight off the defenders of this facility, but can’t beam up the stuff we need because of the facility’s shields. To get rid of the shields we need to find the shield generator plant on an asteroid, and beam down bombs to disable the shields. The bombs are supposed to give the people in this shield generator plant time to escape (the Federation doesn’t blow up worker-bees, apparently). That taken care of, we head back and get the materials we need.

That lets us warp deeper into the nebular. There are “dense objects” that need to be scanned. More defenders pop up as we cruise through the dense gas. I’m loving the vortexes and eddies in the gas as we fly through it. We scan 5 objects and the last (of course) is a massive asteroid totally enveloped in mines, and with Klingons defending it. Battle ensues and soon there’s one less Klingon ship threatening Federation space. We use our phasers to target the mine fields until we can get close enough to beam down to the facility on the asteroid.

Once we get dirtside, we have to fight our way through Klingon defenders to get to a computer console. We start downloading data crucial for Starfleet, but that’s going to take time. While the computers talk to each other my team spreads out to defend the console from Klingons and their alien wardogs who’re beaming down to stop us.

Finally we get the data, beam out and then get the heck out of there. Episode complete! We get our just rewards from Starfleet.

All of that is ONE quest! And it told a neat bit of story along the way. I can’t wait to follow up the leads we got from that computer and learn what those dastardly Klingons are up to!

Fun stuff. More fun than I remember it being the first time I played. I think the difference is that I’m in no rush; STO will definitely be my ‘side MMO’ for a while now.

In the meanwhile DC Universe Online beckons.